Text: The United States federal government should open a round of competitive bidding process for all systems necessary to complete the mission of returning to the moon by 2022




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CP Practice Debates DDW 2011


Private Contracts CP


***Private Contracts CP***

1NC Private Contracts CP


Text: The United States federal government should open a round of competitive bidding process for all systems necessary to complete the mission of returning to the moon by 2022.


Contracting Constellation out to private companies solves—maintains space leadership while using resources more effectively

Atkinson, 10 – senior editor for Universe Today (Nancy, 2/1. “NASA Budget Details: Constellation Cancelled, But Where To Next?” http://www.universetoday.com/53232/nasa-budget-details-constellation-cancelled-but-where-to-next/)


We’ve lost the Moon. But have we gained the solar system while boosting commercial space ventures? “The President’s Budget cancels Constellation and replaces it with a bold new approach that invests in the building blocks of a more capable approach to space exploration,” states the Office of Management and Budget’s Fact Sheet on NASA’s 2011 budget. NASA will get additional $6 billion over the next five years tacked on to the current budget of just under $18 billion. The budget information released so far does not provide for a specific destination for humans in space. So, while some see this new direction as a course correction; others see it as an endgame. With an extension to the International Space Station to 2020, humans may well be stuck in low Earth orbit for at least another decade.
In this budget, the Ares rocket is history, and while no decision has been made on a heavy lift vehicle – necessary to launch humans beyond low-Earth orbit – NASA has been directed to continue research on such a vehicle that will “increase the capability of future exploration architectures with significantly lower operations costs than current systems – potentially taking us farther and faster into space.”

But in this proposed budget, which must be approved by Congress, NASA will provide funds for commercial space companies to build vehicles to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. With the space shuttle program ending this year, NASA had agreed to pay Russia $50 million a seat. Commercial space companies could likely provide the seats for less money, but their vehicles are not yet human rated or tested.

It is true that the Constellation program was “over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation due to a failure to invest in critical new technologies.” But $9 billion has already been spent on developing the Ares rockets and the Orion crew capsule, and $2.5 billion is in the budget proposal to close out Constellation.

Proponents of Obama’s budget proposal say moving towards using private commercial space companies will create more jobs per dollar because the government’s investment would be leveraged by millions of dollars in private investments.

NASA investment in the commercial spaceflight industry is a win-win decision,” said Bret Alexander, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, in a statement released last week. “Commercial crew will create thousands of high-tech jobs in the United States, especially in Florida, while reducing the spaceflight gap and preventing us from sending billions to Russia.’


Private enterprise is more efficient and cost-effective—frees up NASA resources

David, 10 – freelance writer (2/7. “The NASA 2011 Budget and the Future of America’s Program.” http://www.helium.com/items/1734055-nasa-2011-budget)

One encouraging sign is that the commercialization of low Earth orbit is part of the plan. The Space Shuttle fleet will be retired at the end of 2010. Rather than use NASA resources to develop a replacement for the Shuttle, the goal is to have the commercial sector develop the means to reach low Earth orbit. The commercialization of space is long overdue. Private enterprise will do it more efficiently and cost-effectively, and leaving low Earth orbit to the private sector frees up NASA resources to explore deep space. Billions of dollars are allocated to NASA in the 2011 budget and beyond for research and development of new technologies and approaches to space flight. Hopefully, breakthrough technologies will make space flight easier, faster, and more affordable.

CP Solves – NASA Bad


NASA empirically fails at rejuvenating space programs – commercial organizations are far superior

Pelton, 10 – Space & Advanced Communications Research Institute, George Washington University (Joseph, May. “A new space vision for NASA - And for space entrepreneurs too?” Space Policy, Science Direct.)


NASA - now past 50 - is well into middle age and seemingly experiencing a mid-life crisis. Any honest assessment of its performance over the past two decades leads to the inexorable conclusion that it is time for some serious reviewdand even more serious reform. National U.S. Space Study Commissions have been recommending major reform for some years and finally someone has listened. President Obama has had the political and programmatic courage to make some serious shifts in how NASA does its business. It is no longer sufficient to move some boxes around and declare this is the new and improved NASA.

One of the key messages from the 2004 Aldridge Commission report, which was quickly buried by NASA, was words to this effect: “Let enterprising space entrepreneurs do what they can do better than NASA and leave a more focused NASA do what it does best - namely space science and truly long range innovation” [1]. If one goes back almost 25 years to the Rogers Commission [2] and the Paine Commission [3] one can find deep dissatisfaction with NASA productivity, with its handling of its various space transportation systems, and with its ability to adapt to current circumstances as well as its ability to embark on truly visionary space goals for the future. Anyone who rereads the Paine Commission report today almost aches for the vision set forth as a roadmap to the future in this amazing document. True there have been outstanding scientific success stories, such as the Hubble Telescope, but these have been the exception and not the rule.

The first step, of course, would be to retool and restructure NASA from top to bottom and not just tweak it a little around the edges. The first step would be to explore what space activities can truly be commercialized and see where NASA could be most effective by stimulating innovation in the private sector rather than undertaking the full mission itself. XPrize Founder Peter Diamandis has noted that we don't have governments operating taxi companies, building computers, or running airlines - and this is for a very good reason. Commercial organizations are, on balance, better managed, more agile, more innovative, and more market responsive than government agencies. People as diverse as movie maker James Cameron and Peter Diamandis feel that the best way forward is to let space entrepreneurs play a greater role in space development and innovation. Cameron strongly endorsed a greater role for commercial creativity in U.S. space programs in a February 2010 Washington Post article and explained why he felt this was the best way forward in humanity's greatest adventure: “I applaud President Obama's bold decision for NASA to focus on building a space exploration program that can drive innovation and provide inspiration to the world. This is the path that can make our dreams in space a reality” [4].

One of the more eloquent yet haunting calls for change came some six years ago. The occasion was when Space X founder Elon Musk testified before the US Senate in April, 2004 at a Hearing on The Future of Launch Vehicles:

The past few decades have been a dark age for development of a new human space transportation system. One multi-billion dollar Government program after another has failed..When America landed on the Moon, I believe that we made a promise and gave people a dream. It seemed then that.someone who was not a billionaire, not an Astronaut with the “Right Stuff”, but just a normal person, might one day see Earth from space. That dream is nothing but broken disappointment today. If we do not now take action different from the past, it will remain that way” [5].

One might think that, since Musk was seeking to develop his own launch capability, he was exaggerating; but a review of the record suggests otherwise. Today nearly 25 years after the Rogers and Paine Commission reports that followed the Challenger disaster, we find that the recommendations for NASA to develop a reliable and costeffective vehicle to replace the Shuttle is somewhere between being a disappointment and a fiasco. Billions of dollars have gone into various spaceplane and reusable launch vehicle developments by NASA over the past 20 years. Spaceplane projects have been started by NASA time and again amid great fanfare and major expectations and then a few years later either cancelled in failure or closed out with a whimper. The programs that NASA has given up on now include the Delta Clipper, the HL-20, X-33, the X-34, X-37, X-38, and X-43 after billions of US funds and billions more of private money have been sacrificed to the cause [6].

In the field of space research NASA has a long and distinguished career. In the area of space transportation and space station construction its record over the past 30 years has largely been a record of failure. The Space Shuttle was supposed to have been an efficient space truck that would fly every two weeks and bring cargo to orbit at a fraction of the cost of early space transportation systems - perhaps a few thousand dollars per pound to low-Earth orbit. In fact, the fully allocated cost of the Shuttle is over $1 billion a flight and it is by far the most expensive space transportation system ever. After the Columbia accident NASA spent years and billions more dollars to correct serious safety problems with the Space Shuttle and still was never able to fulfill the specific recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. Yes, that's correct. After grounding the Space Shuttle for some 2.5 years (from February 2004 to August 2006) and expending $1.75 billion dollars in the wake of the CAIB report, NASA was not able to correct the identified problems and complete the tasks asked of it. Then, after the foam insulation problem re-emerged with Discovery and STS flight 114, hundreds of millions more dollars were spent to solve the problem again, bringing the grand total to over $2 billion [7].

The first rendition of a space station was scheduled during the Reagan years to have been completed in 1991 for several billions of dollars. The projected completion date extended to 1994 when the project was redesigned and it became the International Space Station (ISS). Today the ISS is not only late, but its total cost has ballooned to over $100 billion [8].

Project Constellation, with a projected cost of over $100 billion until its recent cancellation by President Obama, seemed to loom as an eerie repetition of the ISS - another mega-project always over budget, always late, and with constantly lowered expectations. Henry Spencer, writing for the New Scientist, has characterized Project Constellation as an “Illusion, Wrapped in Denial.” His specific observations about the NASA Moon/Mars program were as follows:

First, it probably wasn't going to work. Even so early in its life, the programme was already deep into a death spiral of “solving” every problem by reducing expectation of what the systems would do. Actually reaching the moon would probably have required a major redesign, which wasn't going to be funded [9].

Any private company with NASA's record on the Space Shuttle, the ISS deployment and spaceplane development, would have gone bankrupt decades ago. In all three cases the US Congress has been told by NASA essentially what it wanted to hear rather than the grim facts as to cost, schedule and performance. I personally remember when Congress was being told quite unbelievable things about the cost and expected performance of the Space Shuttle. We at Intelsat presented testimony that strongly contradicted NASA's statements on cost and performance.

There are dozens of examples of entrepreneurial space enterprises that have generated innovative ideas that seemed to show us how we could have gotten ourselves into space faster, cheaper and better.

- A private, Boulder, CO-based company called the External Tanks Corporation (ETC) suggested in the 1980s that we could just add a little more thrust to the External Tanks for the Space Transportation System (i.e. the Space Shuttle) and lo and behold we could put them into Low-Earth Orbit. Dr. Randolph “Stick” Ware of the ETC explained that one could then strap these tanks together and create the structure of a space station at a fraction of the cost of the ISS, and much more quickly as well.

- Bob Zubrin has for years championed the idea of sending methane generators to Mars to produce the fuel for the astronauts' return trip. The cost of a Mars mission with a refueling station on Mars would be dramatically lower.

- Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites took a few million dollars of backing from Microsoft's Paul Allen and developed the White Knight carrier craft and the SpaceShipOne spaceplane. This vehicle system, which won the X Prize, set the stage for a space adventures industry that will begin launches in 2011. When this experimental spaceplane landed at Edwards Air Force Base in 2004, a spectator's sign said it all: “SpaceShipOne - NASA Zero”.

Some have suggested that President Barack Obama's cancellation of the unwieldy and expensive Project Constellation to send astronauts back to the Moon for a few exploratory missions was a blow to NASA and the start of the end of the US space program. The truth is just the reverse. Project Constellation, accurately described by former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin as “Apollo on Steroids” provided little new technology or innovation and had an astronomical price tag. It was clearly too much for too little. If the opportunity costs of Project Constellation are examined (i.e. if we think what could have been done with an extra $100 billion of space funds), dumping it defies argument.






CP Solves – Private Competition Good


CP solves – the private sector can fill in, which is key to maintain competition and spur further development – even if companies have no experience in the space realm

Ackerman 11 – retired professor of history who has served as dean of Erskine College and Drew University and as president of Wesleyan College (Robert K., March. Signal Magazine, Vol. 65, Iss. 7. “Commercial Manned Launch Services Awaken”, p. 40. Proquest.)


The end of the space shuttle program is the signal for NASA to turn to the private sector for human access to orbit. The space agency that built a series of manned spacecraft to blaze a trail to the moon now is placing its bets on several commercial space technology companies to provide entry for humans into low earth orbit. This new direction for the government space agency has several goals. First, it seeks to establish a domestic manned orbital capability to reach the International Space Station. After the shuttle program ends this year, the only way for spacefarers to reach the space station for the next few years will be through Russian space agency launches. Another goal is to spur commercial development of space utilization. With two or more commercial firms offering manned orbital access, other space-based industries could begin operation in orbit, secure in the knowledge that their access is not limited to government launch vehicles and spacecraft. Several companies already are planning space-based faculties with functions ranging from research and development to tourism. With more than one company offering manned orbital access, competition would keep prices down and spur further development. Ultimately, space travel could assume the status of airline travel in the early 1930s - an industry emerging from serving only government or elite needs to become a mainstay of the public. NASA had planned to build its manned space access around the Constellation program and its Orion spacecraft, designed to be a multipurpose vehicle capable of a variety of near- and deepspace missions. However, the Obama administration called for bypassing the Orion program in favor of commercial space access. This approach builds on the recommendations of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, headed by former Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Officer and onetime Defense Science Board Chairman Norman R. Augustine. With the Orion program not likely to produce a usable spacecraft until 2015 at the earliest, the committee recommended "turning this transport service over to the commercial sector," adding the goal of "... establishing a new competition for this service in which both large and small companies could participate." Brendan Curry, vice president for Washington operations at the Space Foundation, points out that this commercial space initiative was not met by a plethora of companies routinely shuttling cargo or people into space, NASA had to do more than just issue a bid and begin flying these providers. This new initiative required many companies to enter realms in which they had no proven track record. But since its beginning, the initiative has spawned considerable activity among several companies. The space agency's role will be to establish standards and facilitate development of functioning craft.

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